New member - help will be needed!

Vintage Illinois Watch Discussion Forum
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New member - help will be needed!

#1 Post by mrcardigan » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:49 pm

Hi all.

Andrew here, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK.

Having found out at UK Antiques Roadshow that the battered old watch we had in the back of our wardrobe was in fact a 1931 Rolex Silver Prince (yep, not joking!), I decided to find myself a daily wearer that's a bit cheaper!

Loving the style of the Rolex, I found myself drawn to the 1920/30s Illinois watches, as they look fabulous, and there are many to choose from, as I'm sure you all know :)

Anyway, these are our watches.

DSC_0730.JPG (1.97 MiB) Viewed 1268 times
and my Illinois...
Screenshot_20161202-205356.png (1.11 MiB) Viewed 1268 times
The Illinois was purchased last week on eBay, for the (I hope) bargain price of £8.50!

It needs a bit of work, and that's where I'm hoping you guys (and gals) may be able to help.

I need to identify which new crystal I need, which second hand, and also which winding stem and Crown I need. Can anyone help please?

Photo of movement...
Screenshot_20161203-101314.png (1.12 MiB) Viewed 1268 times
I think (please correct me if wrong) that it's an Illinois Kingston, not Ensign, as the seconds are at 6 not 9, and that the movement is a 607 17j movement, size 6/0 but that's as far as I can get. Anyone know what crystal code I should be looking for, and what the various numbers against winding stems mean?

Really enjoying researching and finding out about these lovely watches in my new hobby.



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Re: New member - help will be needed!

#2 Post by vintagehamiltons » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:42 pm

Welcome to the forum, Andrew. We have the most knowledgeable Illinois collectors in the USA here who will surely advise you.
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Re: New member - help will be needed!

#3 Post by Magpie » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:29 pm

Yes, welcome to the forum! (Be warned: Ilinois collecting is addictive!)

I'd call your watch an Ensign, which was what Illinois named the model when it came out, and how the company continued to list it in its catalogs. The Ensign could have a 15, 17, 19, or 21 jewel movement and subsidiary seconds at either 6 or 9. Kingston was the name that one jobber's catalog in 1933 gave the watch; the Kingston had either a 17 jewel or 21 jewel movement and had subs at 6.

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Re: New member - help will be needed!

#4 Post by mrtoad » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:44 pm

Like Magpie, I'd call this an Ensign. Illinois made this design in two sizes, 3/0, in which case it's called the Mate, and 6/0, which is almost always called the Ensign.

Getting one for £8.50 is really lucky; they tend to go for about ten times that amount.

The 607 is the model of the movement: 6/0 size, 17 jewels. The other number is the serial number of the movement, and it suggests this one was made about 1932.

As for the crystal and stem, your best chances are on eBay.

I've seen Ensign crystals there; you have to be careful not to get the larger Mate. Most sellers won't know what the crystal is for, so you'll have to look at the shape. Otherwise, you'll have to get a watchmaker to cut down a crystal to fit.

For stems, I look of scrap movements to rob of their stems. The crown has to be one that has a recess in the back to cover the tube on the side of the case.

And welcome to the forum. I'm always glad to hear from someone on the Great Western Railway!

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Re: New member - help will be needed!

#5 Post by GJH » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:32 am

Congrats on a wonderful Ensign!

Like the other members have said, Illinois watches are VERY addicting.

You got a FANTASTIC price on that one.

There is a great photo gallery here on the forum.
Click here:

Check out the Ensigns and many other Illinois.

Welcome to the world of Illinois.

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Still, Just living in Rick's world...

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Re: New member - help will be needed!

#6 Post by mrcardigan » Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:03 pm

Thanks all. Yes I thought it was an Ensign too, until read on here about Kingston. Thanks for additional information, really interesting.

As far as watch stems go, I've seen a seller on eBay offering new replacement stems, and so am assuming I want the 6/0s ones???

They then mention either f3.30mm or f3.40mm. Not Having an old one to compare against, I'm assuming f3 is like a width, 30 or 40mm being thread length? Does that sound right? If so, I'll go ahead and buy the 6/0s F.3.40mm one and trim it down to length

Didn't really want to go down the buying donor movement route, as it looks like one will end up costing 5 times the cost of my watch! But may just hold fire and see what comes up over the next couple of weeks.

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Re: New member - help will be needed!

#7 Post by veritas123 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:03 am

Wonderful watch!!

The Ensign crystal numbers are :

BB W2387/223
KK H-300
Perfit H-239/1

These are all " glass" crystal manufacturer numbers. I assumed that would be what you are looking for.
I also have one as well , if you can't find one .
I will look for a stem for you as well .

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Re: New member - help will be needed!

#8 Post by mrcardigan » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:24 pm

Thanks for the reply(veritas123). To be honest, I'm not hugely bothered whether it is glass or plastic, I just don't want cracked yellow!!! :). I would really like to just be able to start wearing this gorgeous watch. I Google the three codes you gave but got nowhere. Do you know who I could quote these codes to?

I'm starting to get the feeling that mainstream Google doesn't like really specific searches!

Still can't believe how dainty these mens watches really were 80 years ago!


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Re: New member - help will be needed!

#9 Post by veritas123 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:13 am

I think your Goggle search is working just fine. That's why I told you I have one.
I didn't think they would be easy to find.

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Re: New member - help will be needed!

#10 Post by Illinois281989 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:12 pm

Nice Ensign you have there and welcome to the forum! It would be wise to look for a glass replacement versus plastic. Plastic crystals overtime it can cause damage to the dial. You will want to acquire a good condition 607 grade parts movement to use for parts replacement on your watch. Genuine Illinois stems are difficult to find as will be the crown. Other's here might be able to help you on your search. You will have to make sure the stem matches the key hole where it is inserted into the mechanism. I would venture to say your detent screw that holds in the stem could be missing or still present. If the winding and setting needs work on your watch a parts movement would be of the most importance with the stem and crown your first priority. I would also recommend a full cleaning and servicing on the movement by a professional. Looks to be a base metal case. Your Rolex looks to be a doctors model and is most impressive!!!

"A Minute of Care is Worth an Hour of Repair" circa 1930.

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